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Active Directory

Active Directory is a special-purpose database and is not a registry replacement. The directory is designed to handle a large number of read and search operations and a significantly smaller number of changes and updates.
Active Directory data is hierarchical, replicated, and extensible. Because it is replicated, you do not want to store dynamic data, such as corporate stock prices or CPU performance. If your data is machine-specific, store the data in the registry. Typical examples of data stored in the directory include
  1. printer queue data,
  2. user contact data, and
  3. network/computer configuration data.
The Active Directory database consists of objects and attributes. Objects and attribute definitions are stored in the Active Directory schema.
Active Directory is Windows Directory Service. It is a centralized database that contains network information.

Active Directory contains information on all network resources, such as users, groups, and printers, anything that interacts and uses the network.

These resources are represented by objects.

The objects have attributes that provide you with a way to define and access the object. Here, the email address 'johnss' is an attribute of the object John Smith (a user).